Ready to Remodel? Time to Call Your Insurance Agent!

Ready to make your home improvement dream a reality? It’s essential to have the right type of insurance and the right amount of coverage first! 

Insurance should be in place during and after construction. If you’re considering a remodeling project, it’s essential to contact your agent before the process begins. Waiting until the project starts or is already finished can be an expensive mistake, so be sure to take the following essential steps first: 

1. Discuss home improvement plans with your agent. Ask about updating your homeowner’s policy, and ask whether other types of insurance will be needed for protection during the construction process. Only those who are qualified to perform DIY projects should attempt them. People who are not construction workers should not help unless there is sufficient liability coverage for their protection. Many homeowners must raise their no-fault medical protection limit for such workers. For a larger project, it is best to consider a “course of construction” policy. This covers the home during the building process from weather or theft damages.

2. Make sure the contractor is covered. Before allowing a contractor to start work, ask to see his or her insurance policies. Contractors should carry both workers’ compensation and commercial general liability insurance. If one of the insured contractor’s workers sustains injuries, that individual will not be able to sue the homeowner. Contractors who are unwilling to provide insurance documents should never be hired.

3. Store all receipts and records. Be sure to take photographs before, during, and after the remodeling project. This provides a virtual history of what the property looked like during each phase. Hold on to all contracts from contractors, and be sure to save the receipts for all materials purchased. Keep receipts for any other belongings bought for the home during the project as well.

4. Update insurance policies again after the project. Let your agent know when any home improvements are completed, as insurance amounts may need to be increased following a major renovation. All of the records and receipts may need to be copied and sent to the insurance company. This helps them assess needs and assign accurate values for the improvements. Your agent will be able to recommend any coverage needed for more expensive items. You may need additional liability coverage if a pool or spa was added, or an umbrella policy may be the right solution for this situation.

Be sure to ask your agent about discounts as well! When you install smoke detectors, stronger doors, deadbolt locks, or burglar alarms, they may qualify for discounts. Some insurers also offer more significant discounts to people who install more sophisticated burglar alarm systems, sprinkler systems, fire alarm systems, or other devices. 

If you’ve updated your plumbing, electricity, roof, or windows, those may also qualify for discounts. This is especially true if any energy-saving features were installed. In areas prone to intense storms, shutters, reinforced roofs, and shatterproof windows could also earn you a discount, so be sure to ask your agent about what your insurance company offers. 

Don’t forget: If a remodeling project is the result of a growing family, be sure to consider your other insurance needs, such as a life insurance policy, as well. 

Have some new jewelry in the house? Protect it!

Valentine’s Day is near, and love is in the air. Well, love and a few other things – like chocolates, romantic dinners, candy hearts that say “BE MINE,” and, of course, jewelry.

It’s exciting – not to mention romantic – to receive jewelry from a loved one or give it as a gift. If you’re lucky enough to have received some new jewelry this Valentine’s Day, it’s a good idea to take a few minutes and think about something you probably don’t find exciting or romantic: insurance.

Don’t know where to begin? Don’t worry. At The Wurzel Insurance Agency, we think it is exciting to help our customers protect what’s most important to them — so we’re ready to help and can answer all of your questions.

Things to consider when insuring jewelry:

You may need to purchase additional coverage. Your homeowner’s policy covers valuable items such as jewelry only up to set amounts. If the cost of replacing your jewelry exceeds that limit, you will want to purchase scheduled personal property coverage. 

You might want to reconsider your deductible amounts. As always, this impacts your policy premium. It’s a good idea to take a look at your deductibles whenever you make a change to your policy.

Do you need an appraisal? You may need to have an independent evaluation if the insurance company requires it or if you don’t know the value of your jewelry. Each item should be listed with a description and value on paper.

What kind of coverage is offered? You’ll want to determine if items are covered no matter where they are, whether they’re safely stored at home or being worn on an international trip, and if the policy offers full replacement cost. You also should ask if you will be required to replace your jewelry if lost or stolen, or if you can keep the cash settlement.

Photographs can be helpful. Lost or stolen pieces of jewelry can sometimes be recreated if the jeweler has a good photograph to work from.

Should I go with a company that specializes in jewelry insurance? Some insurance companies specialize in jewelry insurance, and we only represent companies that are reputable and stable. We’re happy to advise you on all the options available. 

Is the value of your jewelry mainly sentimental? Is an item irreplaceable? If the answer to either of these questions is “yes,” you might consider foregoing insurance. But please talk to us before making that decision. We’re here to help you assess what’s needed when it comes to insuring your valuables. 

Of course, it’s essential to store your jewelry securely when it’s not in use. A safe in your home or a safe-deposit box is best. We want your jewelry to be replaced if it’s lost or stolen — but we’d rather your sentimental and valuable pieces stay with you and your family for years to come.

Here’s hoping your Valentine’s Day is full of fun and romance. And if there’s no jewelry involved, well, there’s always next year!

The Importance of Taking a Motorcycle Safety Class

If you own a motorcycle, safety should always be one of your highest priorities. Whether you have ridden for one month or 30 years, it’s crucial to stay up to date on all of the motorcycle laws in Florida and also learn about new safety maneuvers that are being introduced. Agents at The Wurzel Agency serve motorcycle owners throughout the Oviedo, FL area, as well as many of the surrounding communities. We can also help you find details about where motorcycle safety classes that are being held in your area. 

Better Understand Motorcycle Laws

A motorcycle safety class will give you valuable information on the laws that are in place in the state of Florida. In Florida, you do not have to wear a helmet if you are over the age of 21 and have the required amount of medical insurance. With that being said, it is vital that you know the laws of the road and abide by them to minimize your risk of an accident.

Learn How to Handle Your Motorcycle Safely

The purpose of a motorcycle safety class is to teach you how to ride safely in a variety of situations. You will learn various maneuvers and techniques that are designed to keep you and your passenger as safe as possible while you are riding along Florida’s highways.

If you are interested in learning more about motorcycle insurance and motorcycle safety classes, call and schedule an appointment with one of the agents at The Wurzel Agency. We serve people from Orlando to Oviedo, FL, and many of the surrounding communities and are ready to give you the answers you need. Call and talk to an agent today!

You Can’t Afford to Not Have Professional Liability Insurance

At some point, most businesses are involved in some legal dispute, be it over an alleged physical or property damage to a third party or financial injury to a competitor, client, or vendor.

As a business owner, it’s crucial to have insurance in case you are targeted to help pay for legal costs and any settlements or judgments. The type of liability your business could face will depend on the kind of work you do.

If you’re in a service trade, the chances of your work causing someone physical damage or harm are remote, but you could still be sued for not living up to your part of a contract or if your services caused a client to lose money.

The costs of defending against a lawsuit of that type could quickly mount, even if you come out victorious in the end. Without the appropriate insurance, you’ll be paying these costs out of pocket.

In many services trades, the outcome can be disastrous to your finances. Lawsuits often catch you by surprise — they could even be for work you completed years ago.

The unfunded lawsuit

Here’s a scenario that could leave you scrambling for funds. You run an engineering firm. And a manufacturer sues your business after one of the machine parts that you designed failed, causing one of the client’s machines to seize up, resulting in $58,000 in damage to the device and production downtime.

The lawsuit accuses your firm of negligence. Your business could be facing severe financial hardship as the suit asks for the cost of repairs and the lost production. Here’s what you’re looking at:

  • Attorneys’ fees. Depending on where you live, these can range from $150 to $400 an hour, or more if you go with a topflight law firm.
  • Court expenses. Fees for copying, filing, and other miscellaneous tasks all add up.
  • Other legal fees. You may need to call expert witnesses, as well.
  • Damages or settlements. Even if you try to reach an agreement with your client, they may opt to take the case to trial in hopes of winning the full amount of the damages they are claiming.

You can see how the costs can quickly mount. It the case gets to damage or settlement stage, the costs will increase significantly.

Even if the case were frivolous, you’d still have to pay attorneys to defend it and file motions to have it tossed out of court. That alone could run you at least $5,000 in legal fees — much money to pay out of pocket.

The U.S. Small Business Administration estimated in a recent study that legal costs for litigation ranged from $3,000 to $150,000, and only one-third of small business owners reported spending less than $10,000. 

There can be other fallout, as well. Perhaps word has gotten out about the lawsuit, damaging your reputation and ability to attract new clients and retaining existing ones. If one client has sued, others who may have had similar experiences could also file suit.

Professional liability insurance

Insurance can save you from these significant expenses. This relatively inexpensive coverage is what’s known as “claims-made” coverage, meaning your policy must be active when the alleged incident occurred and when the claim is filed to receive your benefits.

Client allegations that your work caused them a professional liability policy often covers a financial loss. Professional liability insurance can include errors and oversights with your work, as well as legal fees and the cost of settlements or judgments.

Is your business covered?

This New Year, Resolve to Review Your Insurance

The New Year is the perfect time to set goals and dream big. It’s also the ideal time to revisit your insurance policies and make sure you’re not leaving anything to chance. 

Did you acquire a new property, upgrade your home, or buy new stuff last year? You may have more at risk than you realize. 

But by taking a little time, you can make sure you’re adequately protected and that you won’t have any unpleasant surprises should you have to file an insurance claim this year. Here’s what we recommend: 

Talk to us!

Give our office a call or schedule an appointment to discuss your current coverage. We know the right questions to ask to evaluate whether anything has changed that may affect your liability risk, or whether you are under- or over-insured. 

We want to help you identify new risks and find out if any impending changes will affect your insurance needs during the rest of the year.

Revisit your policies.

Yes, reading insurance policies doesn’t sound like much fun, but waiting to go through them until you actually need to file a claim will only add to your stress. Re-familiarizing yourself with the details of your policies can save you from headaches later.

Here are some items you may want to check:

  • The size of your deductibles. Perhaps you’d like to save money on your monthly premiums, which can be done by increasing the size of your deductible. Or, you may want to have a lower deductible in exchange for a higher premium.
  • Does your auto policy include towing or the cost of a loaned car if your vehicle needs repairs after an accident? If your policy is lacking these and you feel you need this coverage, you can talk to us about adding it.
  • Does your policy pay the actual cash value (what property is worth after depreciation) or actual replacement cost for property damaged by a fire or other covered event?

Do you need additional or other types of insurance?

There has been an increase in the number of natural disasters occurring worldwide. The costs of damage caused by floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires are also on the rise.

If you’re concerned about possible flooding, you may need to purchase additional coverage — and we can help you assess that need. 

Check your homeowner or renter’s policy

You may not have contacted us after buying expensive jewelry, antique furniture, or a new TV, but it’s certainly worth the call to confirm that these items are insured.

This could also be an excellent time to consider updating your home inventory, so you have accurate coverage for your belongings and a specific list of items like works of art, collectibles (stamps, automobiles, firearms, paintings, and related), jewelry, and antiques. Please take photos of your valuables in each room and save them to your cloud for easy access in case of a loss.

Although your homeowner or renter policy protects valuables against a covered loss or theft, coverage is only provided up to a specific limit. When you make a substantial purchase, it’s essential to review your policy and possibly increase your limits and coverage.

Also, if you got a new pet for Christmas, that could affect your coverage, so it’s essential to contact us and make any adjustments necessary to keep your policy up to date.

Have you done any home remodeling or added a deck or a pool? The value of your home may have increased, and you’ll need to make sure your policy covers the added value.

You may also qualify for homeowner’s insurance discounts. Even small things such as adding a burglar alarm or a sprinkler system can earn you a discount.

Why should I get insurance for my boat?

The Oviedo, FL area is a great place for people that enjoy being outdoors during the hot summer months. For those that own a boat in this area, there are countless opportunities and places to enjoy it. If you are going to buy a boat in this area of Florida, it is vital that you get it adequately covered by insurance. There are several reasons why you should get boat insurance. 

Protects Your Boat

One of the main reasons to get boat insurance is that it will protect your boat. A boat is a major purchase and investment that you need to take seriously. A boat insurance policy will help to protect your boat in many different ways. If your boat is stolen, damaged in an accident, or you experience a variety of different losses, your boat insurance policy will provide you with coverage.

Requirements

For many boat owners, having boat insurance is also a requirement. If you took out a loan to buy the boat, the lender is going to require that you have insurance to protect their collateral. Additionally, there are certain marinas and other waterways in the area that are going to request that you have boat insurance to ensure you can pay for damages if you cause an accident. 

If you want to own a boat in the Chuluota or Oviedo, FL area, you need to make sure that you get proper boat insurance. One of the best ways that you can do this is by getting a full boat insurance policy. When you want to get boat insurance, contacting the team at The Wurzel Agency is a great choice. The Wurzel Agency can help any boat owner find a policy that provides the right type and level of protection. 

Dog Lover? Think About Umbrella Coverage

In today’s economy, everyone is pinching pennies. So why worry about umbrella coverage? Shouldn’t a home and auto policy leave you adequately covered? 

Unfortunately, we live in a world of lawsuits. Substantial damages can be awarded, be extremely expensive, and have a long-term financial impact. Those lawsuits can come from unlikely sources, such as our furry friends.

Take Charlie, for instance. Charlie is a much-loved, rather timid labradoodle who enjoys taking naps on the driveway while his owner mows the lawn. 

Charlie watched from eight feet away as his neighbor, a 39-year-old man, rollerbladed with his kids. The man wiped out on the sidewalk in front of Charlie’s house and broke his leg. He required surgery, costing around $35,000 in medical costs and $18,000 in lost wages.

Fair or not, the man brought a lawsuit against Charlie’s owner, suing for $220,000 in damages. He alleged that Charlie had caused the accident by getting in his way, despite multiple witnesses to the contrary. 

Charlie’s owner was lucky — a jury vindicated Charlie. However, lawsuits like this can easily exceed the limits on a homeowner’s policy, leaving the insured responsible for the remainder. An umbrella policy would prevent that, giving you an extra $1 million to $5 million in coverage.

Our furry friends can put our assets at risk in other ways as well. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year, with half of those occurring on the owner’s property. Dog bites, according to the Insurance Information Institute, account for about a third of all homeowner’s insurance claims, which only cover limited damages.

Protect what you love. Call us to talk about your umbrella options. The Wurzel Insurance Agency is here for you! Give us a call at (407) 977-5700 to speak with one of our experienced agents, or email us: hello@wurzelagency.com.

How is condo insurance different from home insurance?

Owning a condo in Oviedo, FL puts you in the perfect place to enjoy Central Florida. Located just 35 miles northeast of Disney World and 30 miles from sandy Atlantic beaches, you have an ideal location. But, like owning any home, a condo in Oviedo comes with plenty of worry and things that you need to care for. Condo insurance may be something that you know little about, and how it is different from home insurance may be confusing. The knowledgeable agents at The Wurzel Agency are ready and able to answer any questions that you may have. 

The significant difference between home insurance and condo insurance is that home insurance includes the entire home, inside and out. Home insurance covers the main structure, exterior attachments like a garage or deck, and also any other structures in your yard such as a shed, detached garage, or casita. When you own a condo, the condo association will have a master policy that covers the exterior of the building. This includes the roof, walkways, common areas like a pool or a gym, and the parking lot. They repair or replace wear and tear and also damage caused by covered perils. Their insurance, however, does not cover the interior of your unit. 

Condo insurance covers your personal property and also offers liability coverage. With a quality condo policy, you will also be covered for loss of use if the condo is damaged so severely that it is not habitable. It will pay for you to stay somewhere else until your unit gets the okay for you to move back in.

If you are a new condo owner or are considering changing your condo insurance coverage, The Wurzel Agency in Oviedo, FL is happy to talk to you about the perfect coverage for your unit. 

The Christmas Tree Conundrum: Real or Fake?

The kind of tree that adorns a person’s home during the holidays can provoke debate as much as Coke versus Pepsi or Chevy versus Ford.

When it comes to Christmas trees, do you choose live or artificial? Do you cut your own at one of our local tree farms, or pop by the tent in the Home Depot parking lot? Alternatively, do you prefer the convenience of an artificial tree that won’t shed its needles, doesn’t need water, and already has lights?

Both live and artificial trees have their advantages and disadvantages, and we here at The Wurzel Insurance Agency certainly aren’t going to try to convince you that one is better than the other. However, in the spirit of giving, we thought we’d provide some information to help you make the best decision for you and your family.

Artificial trees

According to the North Carolina Consumers Council, artificial trees pose fewer safety concerns than live trees, but that’s not to say they don’t have risks of their own. Even fake trees can catch fire when socket are overloaded with Christmas lights, and it only takes seconds for any tree to become completely engulfed in flames. Also, yes, even flame-resistant artificial trees will eventually succumb to a fire. 

When using a pre-lit tree, always follow instructions, and place the tree in an open area where a fire won’t quickly spread to furniture or other things nearby.

The benefits of artificial trees, of course, are well-known. They’re convenient and often less messy than real trees. You can reuse them year after year, saving money and saving the environment. So, there’s no need to spend time searching for the perfect tree since it’s usually easy to adjust the branches to your liking.

Live trees

OK, so you want the real deal. That’s great! However, you’re going to have to take a little more care than you would with an artificial tree. First of all, pick a tree that’s in good shape. If needles come off quickly when you give it a shake or a quick pull on a branch, find another one. 

When you get it home, cut off the bottom two inches of its trunk, and fill the tree stand with water regularly to prevent a fire. Remember not to overload it with lights and decorations. Also, the longer you keep your tree up, the drier — and the more dangerous — it will become. 

Dispose of your tree properly as well. Don’t burn it or put it in your fireplace, as a burning Christmas tree can be harder to control than other types of fires.

If you’re a fan of real trees, you probably don’t need us to tell you the benefits. Just take in that smell and enjoy the season!

No matter what tree you choose, the important thing is to keep safety in mind as well. If you do that, your holiday enjoyment will be real, even if your tree isn’t! 

The Wurzel Insurance Agency is here for you! Give us a call at (407) 977-5700 to speak with one of our experienced agents, or email us: hello@wurzelagency.com.

Save a Life: Don’t Be a Distracted Driver

You’ve seen them on the roads; you might even know a few of them. 

You could be one yourself.

Distracted drivers come in all shapes, sizes, ages, and experience levels. Even if you’re not one today, you could become one at any moment — in the time it takes you to answer your phone or check the kids in the back seat. 

If you or someone else you know thinks you can drive just fine while talking on your phone, think about this: More than 390,000 people were injured in crashes that reportedly involved distracted driving in 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2016, 3,450 people were killed as a result of distracted driving. 

Distractions on the road come in many forms, according to www.distraction.gov, a U.S. Department of Transportation website. There are three main kinds of distractions:

Visual –taking your eyes off the road

Manual –taking your hands off the wheel

Cognitive –taking your mind off what you’re doing

To help you avoid all three kinds of distractions the next time you’re behind the wheel of your car:

• Put your phone in silent mode and store it away from the front seat or in a purse or bag. Doing so will help reduce temptation.

• Have a passenger answer your phone or return text messages for you.

• If a call or a text can’t wait, pull over in a safe spot before using your phone.

• This one seems obvious, but finish shaving or applying makeup before you get in the car!

• If you’re emotional, wait until you’ve calmed down before hitting the road. 

Your car is no place for multi-tasking. Focus on driving safely – for yourself, your passengers, and everyone else on the road.

Make sure you and your family are fully protected on the road. The Wurzel Insurance Agency is here for you! Give us a call at (407) 977-5700 to speak with one of our experienced agents, or email us: hello@wurzelagency.com.